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Hawks can't look far ahead: Gibson

AAP logoAAP 26/07/2016 By Rob Forsaith

Hawthorn could hardly be better placed for their tilt at a fourth consecutive AFL premiership.

The Hawks are two games clear in top spot on the ladder, short-priced premiership favourites and their run to the finals isn't anywhere near as exacting as rivals.

But defender Josh Gibson knows before a grand final comes the grind, noting past experience is helping the club guard against complacency.

Gibson says Hawthorn aren't contemplating the prospect of being the first team to win four straight flags since Collingwood in 1927-30.

Instead their focus is on remaining in the top four, starting with Saturday's match against Carlton in Tasmania.

"From past experience we know if you look too far head, you'll miss out," Gibson said on Tuesday.

"We're a pretty experienced group now and we understand what's required to make finals and give yourself a tilt at being successful in finals.

"The minute you look ahead you'll stumble and you can drop out of that top four pretty quickly."

Gibson's first season at Waverley Park was in 2010, when the Hawks finished seventh and lost in week one of finals.

It was a lesson in the value of finishing inside the top four - likewise last year when they lost to West Coast in week one of the finals.

There has been conjecture over whether that benefit has been diminished by a pre-finals bye this season but Gibson doesn't buy it.

"We've seen in the past how important top four is. Last year we definitely needed it (the double chance)," the 32-year-old said.

"It is tight and you can't afford to drop games ... you've seen teams go from second to seventh and vice versa this year.

"We've got some pretty important games to play before finals."

That run starts at the Hawks' adopted home in Launceston, where they have won 40 of 51 games including a current 18-match winning streak.

They will confront Blues coach Brendon Bolton, formerly an assistant at Hawthorn.

"He knows a little bit about Hawthorn but we've got to evolve and change every year. We're doing a lot different to when he was last here," Gibson said.

"You can see he's changed some things ... they're playing some really good football."

Meanwhile, Gibson downplayed ongoing contract talks with Hawthorn.

"I'm not worried about that. I'm sure they're working on that in the background," he said.

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